Almanac . It comes from the Arabic word المناخ al-manākh, “the weather,” reflecting its original purpose used for agriculture where it provided information on seasons and the weather. An almanac is an annual publication that contains tabular information for some specific topics, arranged in a calendar. You can find astronomical data and various statistics, it also includes among other information the movements of the sun and the moon , eclipses , holidays, and chronologies.
[ hide ]
- 1 History
- 2 Definitions
- 3 Contemporary almanacs
- 4 Sources
The forerunner of the almanac was the Greek climate calendar, the Parapegma. Ptolemy, the astronomer of Alexandria ( 1st century CE) wrote a treatise, Phaseis – “phases of the stars and collection of climate changes” is the complete translation of its full title – the basis of a Parapegma, where a list of changes appear climatic in the regular seasons, the first and last appearances of stars and constellations at dawn and dusk, and solar events such as solstices, organized according to the solar year. Astronomical computations predicted climatic phenomena, compounded as a summary of observations made by various authorities in the past. The Parapegmata was composed for centuries.
Ptolemy believed that astronomical phenomena caused the changes in seasonal climate; his explanation of why there was no exact correlation of these events was that the physical influences of other celestial bodies also intervened. Therefore, for him the weather forecast was considered as a division of astrology.
In the West , Arabs, Jews and converts imported, elaborated and adapted the antecedents of the current calendars. Initially, in addition to the forecasts, they included some moral or hygiene advice. The invention of the printing press and the appearance of the printing press made possible a better dissemination of almanacs, with a progressive acceptance and interest of a growing public. The synthesized nature of the information and, fundamentally, the astrological and astronomical nature of the contents make almanacs privileged and very popular publications, with an important diffusion among the different social classes.
Almanacs or calendars are considered in the field of popular literature as string or string literature. A definition that has nothing pejorative and that is due to the way in which the propaganda and sale of these publications was made, which were hung with a thread in the windows of the bookstores. A custom that still lives on in many parts of the world. According to their popular use, we could classify almanacs into two groups: on the one hand, those with a small booklet, aimed at rural populations or those around the cities, and on the other, those with a greater number of pages, even as if they were small books, in the form of volumes intended for a more bourgeois and urban audience.
When almanacs were first conceived, people still saw very little difference between predicting the movements of the stars and tides, and predicting the future in the sense of divination. One of the Spanish sages to perceive the importance of an almanac is Rodrigo Çamorano, cosmographer of Felipe II, and attests to this in his work in Chronology and Repertory of the reason of the times written in 1585 .
One of the oldest almanacs published in Spain is the Zaragozano-El Firmamento Calendar, which was founded in 1840 . It continues to be published. In 1873 the Prophet’s Calendar appeared. It is published in Alcoy (Alicante) by M. Gosálbez Botí. In Barcelona the Hermit Calendar of the Pyrenees appears. It is defined as “religious, astronomical and literary almanac and is” arranged in the Meridian of Barcelona, according to Spanish time, with the Santoral del Martirologio Romano Español “. It is written in Spanish, with some text in Catalan. It has been published for more than 130 years.
In the Balearic Islands eight calendars are published. They are also known by the name of parenòstic in Catalan. The oldest is the Calendar for the Balearic Islands … currently published by the company Hora Nova. Formerly in Ibiza, El Pitiuso (1945-1979) was published by the folklorist Joan Castelló Guasch. It was resumed in Catalan by the Institut d’Estudis Eivissencs ten years later. The following almanacs are also published in Catalan: Calendari dels Pagesos (Barcelona), Calendari Porrerenc (since 1994 in Porreres, Mallorca), Calendari dels Brillants (Benissa, Alicante), Calendari Mallorquí de S’Arenal (Llucmajor) and Calendari Mallorquí de Sa Plaça. In Galician, O Gaiteiro de Lugo and O Mintireiro verdadeiro are published.
In America the oldest and most popular almanac is the Bristol almanac published in New Jersey since 1832 with versions in English, Spanish and Portuguese with astronomical and climatic calculations for each country or region where it is distributed.
- Register or catalog of every day of the year, distributed by months and weeks, with astronomical, meteorological, religious data, etc.
- Annual publication that collects the most relevant data or news on a certain matter: a sports, political, gastronomic almanac.
Contemporary almanacs such as the World Almanac, The New York Times Almanac, or The Old Farmer’s Almanac have expanded their reach and content beyond their historical counterparts. Today’s almanacs include a comprehensive presentation of statistical and descriptive data covering the entire world. The content also includes discussions on topics of interest and a summary of recent historical events.
The most important topics covered in the almanacs (reflected in their tables of contents) include: geography, government, demography, agriculture, economics and business, health and medicine, religion, the media, transportation, science and technology, sport, and awards.
Some specialized almanacs are also published, for example the Almanac of American Politics published by the National Journal.
In 2004 , former Utne Reader editor Eric Utne began publishing Cosmo Doogood’s Urban Almanac. The content of this almanac includes a daily calendar, sky and night guides, weather predictions, a field guide to urban flora and fauna, poems, proverbs, quotes, and famous sayings, stories behind the holidays, festivals , and historical events, birthdays and dates of death of various famous people, proclamations, songs, recipes, astronomical events, etc. In Italy we could highlight the Almanacco Barbanera and Il Vero Sesto Cajo Baccelli (Florence) as both classic and modern almanacs. In PortugalO Seringador (Porto) and Borda d’Agua (Lisbon) are famous. In Europe , Old Moore’s Almanack and Mondplaner ( Munich , Germany ) also stand out.